Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

Why aren’t You in the Army?

For quite a long while now I’ve been collecting examples of the ‘White Feather’ meme, variations on the situation where a woman (often elderly, always self-righteous) accuses a man of being a coward, and is then shown to be ridiculous because he is already a soldier, or is a wounded ex-soldier, or whatever. This postcard […]

Walter Greenwood – New Blog on the Block

Anyone interested in inter-war fiction should take a look at the new blog Walter Greenwood – Not Just Love on the Dole. It’s by Chris Hopkins, who has just published a book on Greenwood.  The book is a thorough study of Love on the Dole, the novel for which Greenwood is famed, but the blog […]

Seven Pillars

How seriously was Lawrence of Arabia taken in the mid-thirties? I ask because one of the running jokes in Alan Melville’s detective story Death of Anton (1936) about the unreadability of Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The novel is set in a circus, and one of the clowns carries a copy of the book around to […]

More pictures

Since the well-informed readers of this blog were so helpful in identifying the ‘Wounded Soldiers’ painting, Rod Beecham asks if anyone can help with some more images, which may be more difficult. In his book he wants to reproduce this image of J.M. Keynes by Roger Fry:

Rhythm and Reaction

This is just a note to recommend the exhibition Rhythm and Reaction, at Two Temple Place in London. It tells the story of the introduction of jazz music into Britain before and after the Great War. From the banjo-playing of the minstrel shows and productions like In Dahomey (1903), via the groundbreaking Original Dixieland Jazz […]

Wounded Soldiers arriving

Rod Beecham is getting near to publishing his book on First World War prose.  He still has some rights issues to clear up, though. He would like to use this painting of wounded soldiers arriving at a station (Victoria?) as his cover image, but does not know who painted it, who owns it, or who […]

Writing Disenchantment

A book I’ve been meaning to read for a while is Andrew Frayn’s Writing Disenchantment: British First World War prose, 1914–30. I’ve met Andy at several conferences, and he’s always interesting, though we tend to disagree about plenty of things, especially Richard Aldington. Alas, his book cost £85 and my time for reading in libraries […]

Gibbs list updated

A few weeks ago I posted a checklist of the novels of Philip Gibbs. Several readers kindly sent in suggestions for additions or corrections. I have now incorporated these, and the list is updated. At the Sheffield Hallam popular fiction reading group, we have been reading Gibbs this month. I read The Winding Lane, his […]

Gaudier-Brzeska

Looking through the 1915 edition of BLAST (which you can find in its entirety online here). I was struck by the article by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (‘Written from the Trenches’), and especially by its conclusion: Whenever I go to an exhibition of British modernist art, it is always Gaudier’s sculpture that most lifts my spirit. By […]

Philip Gibbs and the war-book boom

The novelist hero of Philip Gibbs’s 1931 novel The Winding Lane is an ex-soldier rather ill at ease in the literary world. At the Pen and Palette, a bohemian club catering for the artistic set, he notes the taste of some of the members: Some of these middle-aged women praised with rather hysterical enthusiasms the […]